After last week’s blog, a reader pointed out an error of mine – I was using the word ‘episodic’ to describe my writing but I was using it in error. Episodic writing release pieces periodically and will often run the same themes in released pieces but be self-contained, whereas serial writing, which is more along the lines of what I do, will release periodically but follow a longer more cohesive plotline.
Well, “more cohesive” insofar as the standards of my writing are concerned. 😉
Long story short, episodic writing has plotlines that start and finish in the instalments. Even if they’re using the same characters, it’s still episodic if the plots are contained in the chapters, pieces, etc. themselves. Because I’m essentially writing a serialized book, my plots are more overarching.
A joy of periodically releasing written pieces, be they episodic or serial in nature, is the freedom from a lot of the shackles of traditional writing. I can get immediate feedback and ideas from readers on where the plot is going, who their favorite characters are, and other vital information. Even if I have a pre-determined path in mind, this feedback is so crucial for helping to understand and best cater towards my audiences. It also provides me with an encouraging feedback loop. Writing an entire novel can be discouraging, especially knowing, in my first story’s case, I would have had to write 250,000 words, with no feedback unless I got beta readers for my first novel project ever at age 18. I would never have known until release if people liked the story. And, without releasing the story in instalments, I would have had zero following upon releasing the story.
A good number of the disadvantages serial writing can bring are accounted for. I’m blessed with an imagination so constant that a story will unfold in front of me but also stay on hold if I ever drop the story for a few months. I think a disadvantage a lot of writers have with writing serial pieces is that the vision can get away from them, and it certainly affects me at times. At the same time, knowing it’s serialized and slice-of-life, I can just workshop the themes of the piece by having a scene where two characters are hanging out, and suddenly, eureka, the plot forward is revealed to me again. Characters speak to me through their feelings.
I used to read a lot, but got away from reading around late middle school (grade five-ish). I moved on to television, and watched a lot of 80s sitcoms with ‘very special episode’ themes. I think I write very much like these sitcoms do, both the good and the bad, and that’s why I like serialized writing more than wholecloth writing. I have a feeling that if I just released a whole book all at once, even at this point, it would be noticeably worse quality. At least, that’s my opinion.
I think, consciously or not, I write a lot more like TV than books. Not in terms of format, but in terms of… feeling. There’s a lot more pointless dialogue, I tend to focus on tone and face emoting more than a lot of the authors I read (both of which are easily and automatically discernable from TV, but not from written word), and there’s a lot of ‘very special episode’ feeling and mood to a lot of the climaxes that happen. I don’t think this is a particularly superior style, of course, but it does have a certain uniqueness to it, at the very least in online erotica.
Sometimes I wish it was less unique. I yearn for more descriptions of tone and facial expression in books. Maybe I’m just reading from the wrong authors. I suppose we all write based on what we’ve experienced, be it real life or what we grew up with. It’s bizarre to think that at least one person out there has ‘grown up with’ my characters. I hope I haven’t screwed up your life or anything.
I’m hoping that I can show you more things I’ve been working on in the coming weeks. My day job has finally slightly reduced my working hours (though I’m still working more than forty a week) so I’ve been able to get more done where I can. I’ll talk to you all next week.